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FAQ’S: Need a quick answer?

If you don’t see the answer to your question, simply scroll down and fill out our contact form. We will be in touch as soon as possible.

What is the cost?

You can see all of our pricing by clicking on our Pricing Page

There are 3 tabs at the top with different options

  • COMBO this is the zoo & pony rides.
  • ZOO this is the petting zoo without rides
  • PONY this is the pony rides without zoo animals

How Do I Book BOTH a Petting Zoo and Pony Ride?

To book both the Petting Zoo and Pony Rides, select one of our “Combo” options. We recommend the Small Combo for most birthday parties (Medium if you have a huge family). The Medium and Large Combos usually work well for most church, community and school events.

How do I check Avalability?

Easy! Our booking form will calculate open spots based on your location and party date. Just go to our Booking Form and put in your preferred date and and party location. Click “Check Availability” and the software will show you any open spots for that date. If you don’t see open spots, we may be booked up, or you may need to shorten your event time to squeeze in.

If you have any questions, feel free to text or call us: 636-306-2500

How Much is the Deposit?

The deposit is $100 and is required at the time of booking. The remainder can be paid day of your event with Cash, Card, Cash App or Venmo.

The $100 deposit is not refundable, but we do offer 1 free reschedule because we understand that sometimes things come up (rain, family emergency etc).

If we have to cancel for any reason, obviously we’ll refund your deposit. This is extremely rare as we can work with most situations. The only cases in which we would cancel would be if we had a serious emergency on the farm or if the roads are unsafe to travel with animals.

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 636-306-2500

How Far Do You Travel?

We cover the St. Louis area on Saturdays & Sundays, but will travel further on weekdays.

Our St. Louis area travel area is a 50mi radius from zip code 63089, and is already built into the pricing you see on the website.

If you are outside this area, you can calculate your travel fee by looking up the number of miles from our zip code (63089) to the zip code where you are holding your event. We charge $3/mile beyond the first 50 miles (one direction only).

Again, we only travel outside the St Louis area on weekdays or weekends during off season (Nov, Jan, Feb).

What is Your Rain/Snow Policy?

We won’t cancel an event unless the roads are unsafe to travel – but if you feel the need to make changes, we are happy to work with you!

There are cases where the weather isn’t conducive to outdoor events, and we will gladly reschedule or work with you to come up with a solution so that your guests don’t get soaked.

There are several way that we can work things out:

  • Set up an a garage/overhang/pavilion
  • Reschedule/adjust times to miss rain
  • Switch to a Mini Zoo and set up indoors
  • Switch from pony rides to a zoo (indoors)
  • Hold your booking until you pick a new date (even a year later!)

Changes need to be made with enough advance notice so that we don’t load up animals and head to your event. If you want to apply your deposit to a new date, we need 12hrs heads up.

If you opt to go forward with your event and we arrive and set up, the first hour is due in full even if you decide to cancel 15 minutes in. If we arrive and set up outdoors, and it starts raining, we are happy to pack up and re-set in a garage or under tents/overhang if available and finish your remaining time.

If your event is longer than an hour, we will allow you to shorten the event (and only pay for the first hour) as long as the decision has been made before the next hour starts.

Do You Have Insurance?

Yes, we have insurance for both the petting zoo and pony rides.

To set up an event with a park requiring insurance please make a note with the park representative’s name,  phone and email on the booking form. We will contact them directly and work out details.

If you are requesting a certificate on behalf of an organization, please include your COI request with organization name and mailing address on the booking form.

What kind of space do you need?

We can work with a lot of different situations.

Pony Rides – Generally need the most space as we need room to walk a horse/pony around. We can walk on Asphalt, driveways or sidewalk as well as grass (ponies generally don’t like walking on gravel). IF you have a QUIET street/court we can walk on the road. If you book a mini horse, (weight capacity 60lbs) we can usually do pony rides in a garage if it rains. If the ground is REALLY soft and you are worried about your grass, we recommend doing pony rides on sidewalk/driveway. Ground does not have to be level, but it is nice 🙂

For large events with lots of pony riders – PLEASE rope off an area for pony rides. This helps to keep small children out from under the ponies and safe!

Mini Zoo – Can easily be set up inside or outside. Can be set up on grass, concrete or gravel. We need a space about 5′ x 5′ for set up. If it is cold, reptiles and baby birds will need to be set up indoors. If it is hot, we will need a spot with shade for the animals.

Small Zoo – Can be set up on grass or asphalt/gravel (indoor setup available $100 extra). Space needed: an area at least 10′ x 20′ (or the space of a 2 car garage). If it is cold, reptiles and baby birds will need to be set up indoors. If it is hot, we will need a spot with shade for the animals.

Medium Zoo – Can be set up on grass or asphalt/gravel (indoor setup available $100 extra). Space needed: an area at least 20′ x 20′ (or the space of a 2 car garage). If it is cold, reptiles and baby birds will need to be set up indoors. If it is hot, we will need a spot with shade for the animals.

Large Zoo – Can be set up on grass or asphalt/gravel (indoor setup available $100 extra). Space needed: an area at least 20′ x 30′ (or the space of a 3 car garage). If it is cold, reptiles and baby birds will need to be set up indoors. If it is hot, we will need a spot with shade for the animals.

How much parking space do you need?

For neighborhood events: We need enough space to to pull up near where the zoo will be set up. It takes about the space of 4 cars to pull the trailer up and get it out of the roadway. We can park in a driveway IF your driveway is the length of 3 cars, and you leave enough room on either side to back in/out without clipping any cars (trailer make wide turns). If you schedule pony rides and no zoo, we can park further away and just walk the ponies 🙂

For events in parking lots: We can park the trailer across 6-7 car spaces, or pull through 2 parking spaces provided that we have enough room on either side to unload animals and pull out without clipping any cars. We can also pull the trailer close to set up area, unload and then park elsewhere out of the way.

When do you arrive?

For most events we give ourselves 10 – 15 minutes to get everything set up and ready to go. If you need us to be set up early, please book your starting time when you would like us to be in place.

If you do not have a place to park the trailer near where there animals will be, please let us know ahead of time so that we can allow enough time to carry everything to where it needs to be. You’ll need to set your start time 10-15 minutes earlier to allowed for set up time if you don’t have parking near the event.

If you need your event set up early, let us know at the time of your booking. Do not email us the day before as we will have already booked evens around yours and will not have the flexibility to make time adjustments.

How Do I Book a Unicorn?

To book a event with one of our ponies dressed as a unicorn, go to our booking form and select either “Pony Rides” or a “Combo” option and then select the “Add Unicorn Costume” option on the booking form. Adding a Unicorn costume costs $100 in addition to our regular pricing. With this option, you get a white pony dressed up with a unicorn horn, and colored hair. If you are the first person to book the unicorn for the day, you get to pick the colors for the hair. Most popular selections are Rainbow and Pink/Purple, but we have all sorts of colors and can come up with almost anything that you would like 🙂

The unicorn option is by for the most popular, so of course it is subject to availability. If you are planning a unicorn event, please don’t procrastinate or we may run out of spots for your party.

How Many Ponies Do I Need?

One pony is usually sufficient for most birthday parties unless you have a really big family or have invited a LOT of guests.

If we do short rides, one pony can give about 50 rides in an hour, but we prefer to do longer rides and can give about 30 in an hour. If you are worried that this won’t give the children enough time to ride, we can add time or extra ponies.

For church and community events we typically recommend 2-3 ponies and a longer time frame to allow all children a turn on the ponies. If you have a really large event, are on a tighter budget, and can’t add ponies/time, we recommend a petting zoo. The petting zoo can typically handle a larger crowd than ponies rides can (unless you add extra ponies).

For fundraisers/charity events, we are happy to collect tickets from participants if you need us to. For example: If you are charging $7/pony ride at your event, simply let us know ahead of time, and we are happy to collect tickets before letting children on the ponies.

How Much Weight Can the Ponies Carry?

Typically we discourage adults from riding, but our ponies can handle most children. If you want a horse for adults to ride, you need to make a note that you need a horse/large pony. Our horses can carry 200lbs, so only smaller adults can ride.

Large Pony/Horse: Weight Limit 200 lbs. Kota, Blaze, Ruby and Greyson are our larger options. They can be ridden by the smallest children, but can also be ridden by small adults up to 200lbs.

Medium Pony: Weight Limit 120lbs. Lacey, Prince, Jester, Boaz, and Ivan are our medium ponies. Lacey and Ivan and technically horses, but are retired from adult riders due to their older age. Prince, Boaz and Jester are medium sized ponies and therefore are too small for most adults to ride.

Small Pony: Weight Limit 80 lbs. Ginger, Snow, Butterscotch are our smaller ponies. They are perfect for younger children. (the younger children can ride the bigger ponies as well). We do not recommend children younger than a year riding the pony other then just sitting (with parent’s help) for a photo. Children who are not capable of holding on need a parent to walk with them!

Miniature: Petting Only Cooper, Champ, Outlaw and Chip are our petting zoo ponies. They are technically trained to be ridden, but we don’t do rides with them as they’re too small for most riders. They are very gentle and happy to accept pets 🙂

What is the difference between a horse and pony? Many people assume that ponies are baby horses, but this isn’t true. Ponies are fully grown. We NEVER train horses/ponies for riding until they are fully grown in order to prevent injury. Ponies are basically short horses. Think of small dog breeds: A chihuahua is smaller than a Lab, but they may be the same age. Horses are similar: bigger doesn’t necessarily mean older. There are MANY breeds/types of ponies, but in order to be considered a pony, their mature height must be 58″ or less at the shoulder.

What Kinds of Animals Do You Have?

For our petting zoos, you get to request which animals you would like to see. We have all the basic farm animals and a few reptiles. We do not have exotics.

  • Mini Horse
  • Mini Donkey
  • Mini Zebu (a type of cattle)
  • Mini Pig (about 80 lbs full grown)
  • Dwarf Goats
  • Sheep
  • Ducks
  • Chickens
  • Rabbits (typically no holding – just petting)
  • Friendly Corn Snake (yes they can be held)
  • Box Turtles
  • Bearded Dragon (kids may hold – IF they are being quiet and gentle)
  • Pyrenees Dog (Children usually call her the Polar Bear – she is a great option if you have children who are afraid of other animals AND you don’t already have dogs)

How Much Time Do People Typically Book?

For birthday parties most people book 1-2 hours, but we are happy to stay longer if you need us to.

Church and Community events typically last 2-4 hours.

Our booking form allows events up to 5 hours without checking with us. If you have an event that is longer, contact Marta directly to make sure the times will work.  For scheduling questions, email is the best contact: [email protected].

Can We Feed the Animals?

Yes! The petting zoo animals may have treats.

We try to avoid feeding the pony rides horses until after the event or else they get distracted and antsy.

  • Tree Leaves – Goat, Sheep, Cow and sometimes pig
  • Apples – horse, donkey, goat, sheep, pig and sometimes cow
  • Carrots – horse, donkey, goat, sheep, pig and sometimes cow
  • Watermellon – goat, sheep, pig, chickens – sometimes cow, horse and donkey
  • Strawberries – horse, goat, sheep, pig, chickens – sometimes cow, donkey, duck,  rabbit and turtle
  • Lettuce/cabbage – horse, donkey, goat, sheep, pig – sometimes cow and rabbit
  • Corn – horse, donkey, goat sheep, pig, chicken, duck, cow – (must be careful not to feed too much)
  • Pizza crust – pig!

We can also provide a vending machine with grain/treat for the animals. It requires a quarter to operate and dispenses a small handful of feed (perfect for toddler hands). To request the vending machine, simply make a note on the booking form. With the vending machine dishes are provided. Please use the dish to feed the animals, NOT your hands. The animals are gentle, but mistakes happen and we’d rather not have small fingers near animal mouths.

Can we Visit the Animals at the Farm?

Unfortunately, no, you cannot visit animals at our location. We are not currently insured to have visitors at the farm. We are happy to bring the animals to you though!

Do You Discount or Donate to Charity?

Yes and no.

We send 10% of proceeds to help needy families purchase farm animals. In many 3rd world countries, a business with farm animals can change a child’s life. Milk from cows can provide much needed nutrition and it can be sold to earn money to help pay for school costs. Other farm animals also help by providing wool for clothing and can help with plowing.

Because we have a specific cause that we work toward supporting, we don’t make donations or offer discounts for any other cause. We’d love to help, but we believe that by staying focused we will be able to make the greatest impact.

Contact Us: Didn’t find your question above?

If you don’t see the answer to your question, simply fill out the contact form below, and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

Whether it’s a question, comment, or kudos (love those!), feel free to use the form below. Or, you can contact us by phone or direct email using the information to the right.

  • MM slash DD slash YYYY

Other Contact Info

Cowboy Critters Petting Farm & Pony Rides
Villa Ridge, MO 63089
6363062500 (Marta, call or text)

Office hours are from 9-12. If you need to reach us outside of that window, please text the number above and we may be able to respond.

Are we liked?

Jeff, Everything went great! The girls did an excellent job and all the kids just loved petting-feeding the animals. Thanks again for everything! Dominic’s birthday was a wonderful day that we will never forget.

Angelia Palazzolo

Dear Jeff, I just want to thank you for being a part of our son Victor’s big day – 1 year old! Your wonderful animals made all the difference for our party on such a hot, summer day.

Charles & Joy Williams